Politicians aiming to cut Social Security and Medicare use weasel words to hide their plans. Let’s call them on it.

Photo: Jeremy Keith via Flickr Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/r5gwLo

In this era in which the Orwellian manipulation of language by politicians to say the opposite of what they mean has reached a fever pitch, we should be especially wary when conservatives hide their plans to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits behind a smokescreen of euphemism.

Jared Bernstein, a fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and a former chief economist to Vice President Joe Biden, has put in a plea to journalists to call out policy makers when they pull this stunt—and not to empower politicians by doing the same thing.

“Though many policy makers want to cut these social insurance programs, they rarely say ‘cut,'” he writes. “Instead, because the programs are so highly valued by recipients, policy makers say ‘reform,’ ‘overhaul,’ ‘change,’ ‘revamp,’ and ‘fix‘ the program. In the vast majority of these formulations, these verbs are euphemisms for cuts, and it’s very important for journalists to call them out as such…. Please stop the obfuscation. When policy makers are talking about cutting entitlements, call it like it is.”

Read more (Los Angeles Times) »

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